Sunday, October 26

It starts small

Last week at Quest, we continued our discussion of the Kingdom of God, especially the parables from Matthew 13 that Jesus begins with the phrase "the Kingdom of Heaven is like..." This time we looked at two similar parables that Jesus told together. He compares the Kingdom of Heave to a mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32) and to yeast (Matt. 13:33). These are similar parables, but the differences between the two help us to see some slightly different aspects of the Kingdom. Here is some of what we discussed about these parables:

  • Both a mustard seed and yeast are very small. Mustard seeds were the smallest plant seeds known to First Century farmers. Similarly, you only need a few grains of yeast in order to make a large loaf of bread rise. So both of these start small but create something or have an impact this is much, much larger.
  • The impact of the Kingdom of Heaven should be visible to others. While a mustard seed is the smallest garden seed, it creates a plant that can grow to be 10 feet tall. If you think of a garden being planted behind a house, you would be able to see the tops of the mustard plant from in front of the house. There would be no hiding that it was being grown. The Kingdom of Heaven should have that kind of impact in our lives. If we have a relationship with Jesus, the effects of the Kingdom should be apparent in our lives. Even if we wanted to try to hide it in the "back yard" of our lives, it should be visible to everyone.
  • The Kingdom of Heaven should be useful and beneficial to others. Jesus tells us that once the mustard plant has grown, the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. (Matt. 13:32). Outsiders, who have no direct connection with the Kingdom of Heaven, can receive a benefit from it. And this impact should extend beyond simply other people who are themselves connected to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is interesting to note that Ezekiel uses the phrase "birds of the air" to refer to Gentiles, who would be people who did not know God. Therefore, when the Kingdom of Heaven is working is us, and when we are operating within it, it should have a positive impact on people who do not yet know God.
  • Once the Kingdom of Heaven starts its work, you can't stop it. Once you plant the seed, it is going to grow. Short of cutting the plant down, there is nothing that the gardener can do to keep the plant from growing, or to make sure that it only grows 3 feet high. This idea is even more evident in the Parable of the Yeast. Once a person starts mixing yeast into dough, the process can't be stopped. That person can't remove the yeast. They can't contain it to only one part of the bread. The yeast works its way into the entire loaf. Similarly, the Kingdom of Heaven should work its way into all parts of our lives.
That should give you a feel for our discussion of the Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast. next week, we will continue to move through Matthew 13 by looking at the Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl.

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